Santa’s surge test

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Santa, also known as Phil Worwa, obliges Specimen Collector Michelle Domingo, Sunday after being helped with the self test at the surge testing site at the Hanapepe Stadium.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Santa, also known as Phil Worwa, gets a break from the Hanapepe sun by spending time with the Kaua‘i fire fighters manning the Toys for Tots drop off tent at the surge testing site at Hanapepe Stadium.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Santa, whose non-North Pole name is Phil Worwa, gets help from Michelle Domingo in administering the self test, Sunday at the surge testing site at the Hanapepe Stadium.

HANAPEPE — What do you do when one of the self testers at the surge testing is Santa?

Registrar Nadja Saraos did an effective job of stifling her excitement while she verified Santa’s appointment and double-checked the credentials on the specimen collection packet at the surge testing site at the Hanapepe Stadium on Sunday.

“I go country after country during this time of the year,” Santa, whose non-North Pole moniker is Phil Worwa, said. “I need to be safe — not only for myself, but for all those keiki.”

With results of the testing not expected for at least three days, Santa was readying for his appearance at the Super Saturday event coming up, Saturday at The Shops at Kukui‘ula.

“Yes, that’s one ‘L’,” Santa Worwa said. “It’s ‘Philip,’ not ‘Phil Lips.’”

Following the verification, Santa found an empty tent with Specimen Collector Michelle Domingo whose eyes darted between the man with the red cap and the red ‘Santa’ Jeep parked in the background.

“I’ll help you count,” Domingo said. “You’ll need to do each nostril for three seconds. You’ll have to partially remove your face mask to do this.”

After fiddling with the package housing the collector, Santa endured the long three seconds.

“I’m crying,” he said following the three count. “You can’t see because of the sunglasses.”

Domingo said that was a good sign.

“That means you did it right,” she said, checking to see that Santa sealed the collection packet and placed it in the collection receptacle. “Can I get a photo next to the Jeep?”

Lauren Guest of the Kaua‘i District Health Office said there were slightly more than 400 appointments waiting for them, Sunday, at the Hanapepe Stadium.

The County of Kaua‘i and the Hawai‘i State Department of Health continues to provide free COVID-19 testing to all residents for free, including the uninsured. Preregistration can be done at

Testing takes place Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Vidinha Stadium parking lot.

This Sunday is also the final appearance of the Toys for Tots toy drive tent manned by volunteers from the Kaua‘i Fire Department.

Assistant Chief Solomon Kanoho said because of the pandemic, the department will not be able to enjoy the Christmas party because of the rules and guidelines. Instead, the department is extending its resources to help the Kaua‘i Marine Corps League with its efforts to collect new and unwrapped toys.

The Marine Corps League also hosts its central collection at the Kaua‘i Veterans Center on Friday from 5 to 8 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m.


Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or


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